How to Combat Seasickness
Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned seafarer, stomach cramps and nausea are never ideal. If you tend to suffer from motion sickness, then feeling queasy during a cruise can sometimes be a worry.
But luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep it at bay while you’re at sea. From swigging a can of Coke to choosing the right cabin, we’ll let you in on a few tried-and-true methods to combat seasickness, as well as what causes it, below…
What Causes Seasickness?
Seasickness is a matter of sensory mismatch. It happens when there’s a conflict between your eyes and inner ears (which help with balance), which comes as a result of the rocking motion of the ship.
Essentially, when you can’t see motion but your inner ear can sense it, this confuses the brain and causes queasiness, which may result in vomiting in the worst cases.
Do you get seasick on a cruise?
If getting seasick on a cruise ship is a concern, then here’s something to put those worries at ease: most people simply don’t get seasick while at sea. Technological advancements in ship design and stabilisers to keep the boat from rocking mean that it’s rarely an issue; it’ll more than likely be smooth sailing wherever it is in the world you’re travelling to.
If you feel as though it will be an issue, however, then we’d recommend avoiding itineraries with a lot of time spent sailing in open water. Instead, go for something with regular shore excursions.
A good way to literally test the waters is booking a short cruise on a large ship. We offer plenty of 3-night cruises which are great for first-timers looking to dip a toe into a holiday on the water. Once you’ve found your sea legs and got through a cruise without feeling seasick, you’ll soon be ready to move on to longer itineraries.
How to stop seasickness
Look up and out
Instead of trying to distract yourself in the hope that the feeling goes away, head up on to deck and look out at the horizon. This is a great technique as it allows you to ‘reset’ your brain, and should help combat that queasy, rocking sensation.
Grab a can of Coke
Yes, that’s right. Coke contains phosphoric acid and sugars, which are the same ingredients you’ll find in Emetrol, an over-the-counter anti-nausea medicine. And since Coca-Cola was first introduced as a medicine, it makes sense that it helps combat that queasy feeling.
Apply some pressure
For centuries, traditional Chinese medicine has included things like acupuncture as a way to suppress the nausea associated with motion sickness. Make a trip to your local drug store to purchase pressure bands such as Sea-Band or Acuband to help prevent seasickness from occurring.
Close your eyes
Of course, you’re not going to spend the entire time on your cruise with your eyes closed, but when you are starting to feel seasick, it’s worth finding a place to shut your eyes and have a quiet lie down so that you are able to relax. That way your eyes aren’t giving a no-motion message to your brain.
Choose the right cabin
If you do suffer with seasickness, then our Cruise Consultants recommend booking a cabin which is low down in mid deck. Rooms situated in this area are where you’ll experience the least sensation of movement when the ship is in motion.
Don’t try to read
You may think finding things to do to distract yourself from your seasickness is the way forward, but in fact this can only add to it. Now is not the time to get stuck into that book you brought, as it could make you feel disorientated and unable to concentrate. Save reading for a time when you feel 100%, so as to not worsen your symptoms.
Another one of our Cruise Consultants’ top tips for seasickness is to eat something. Green apples, ginger beer and crackers are some of the best foods for settling your stomach. In fact, you may be able to tell if you’re heading for choppy waters if you start to see these items popping up around the ship for you to take.
Take seasickness medication
One of the most popular forms of fighting seasickness is by taking a seasickness pills. They’re simple and effective, but these pills can also cause drowsiness and light-headedness, so be sure to see your GP before making any decisions.
If you think you might get seasick, it’s best to take the medication sooner rather than later when you’re feeling nauseous, as such pills can take 30-60 minutes to take effect. And remember, if you forget to pack seasickness medication, try asking the crew as they may be able to help.
Use a scopolamine patch
Scopolamine is a drug that reduces the activity of nerve fibres in your inner ear; it’s one of the most successful commercial seasickness solutions around. Placed discreetly behind your ear, it works by blocking the effects of a natural substance called acetylcholine. Basically, that’s another way of saying it stops you from feeling the effects of nausea and vomiting brought on by motion sickness.
Get some fresh air
It’s a good idea to open a window or move to the top deck of a ship to avoid getting too hot. This will allow you to get some fresh air, which could help to reduce your chances of sickness.
Often people find themselves worrying about becoming seasick, which only fuels the discomfort. It might be easier said than done when you have nowhere else to go, but try to remain relaxed throughout your holiday to help reduce the effects of seasickness.
Do seasickness bands work?
If you don’t fancy taking medication, then sickness bands, like we mentioned above, are another method of combating seasickness. But are they effective, or just another gimmick that creates a placebo effect?
Sickness bands use acupressure – where pressure is applied to specific points around the body (known as meridians) – to help keep energy flowing evenly. These bands place steady pressure on your P6 point, which is located on your inner arm just below your wrist. By stimulating the median nerve, the bands are said to stop your brain from telling your belly that you’re sick.
If this sounds a bit wild, then there have been scientific studies that back up the claims, although you can find plenty of contradictory studies too. If you’re in doubt, then sickness bands are relatively inexpensive if nothing else, so they may be worth bringing along when packing for your cruise.